What is wrong with Dick Cheney? Since the earliest days of his vice presidency, people have been asking this question. At first, it was mostly out of partisan pique; but, increasingly, it's in troubled tones, as one of the most powerful men on the planet grows ever more rigid, belligerent, and just plain odd in both his public utterances ("Go fuck yourself," Senator Leahy) and private actions (shoot a man in the face and not bother to call your boss 'til the next day: What's up with that?).


Athwart History

Although he remains the most eminent conservative in the United States, his face and voice recognized by millions, William F. Buckley, Jr. has all but retired from public life. At the apex of his influence, when Richard Nixon and, later, Ronald Reagan occupied the White House, Buckley received flattering notes on presidential letterhead and importuning phone calls from Cabinet members worried about their standing in the conservative movement.


The Agitator

In 1985, Barack Obama traveled halfway across the country to take a job that he didn't fully understand. But, while he knew little about this new vocation--community organizer--it still had a romantic ring, at least to his 24- year-old ears. With his old classmates from Columbia, he had talked frequently about political change.Now, he was moving to Chicago to put that talk into action. His1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father, recounts his idealistic effusions: "Change won't come from the top, I would say. Change will come from a mobilized grass roots. That's what I'll do.


Buried In Secret

There are many horrific things one can observe about Zimbabwe right now. If you have not seen it already, please take a look at the tortured (literally) face of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, beamed across the world last week and symbolic of those courageously standing up to one of the world's most vicious men. Yesterday, I was disheartened to see the violence meted out against MDC spokesman and Member of Parliament Nelson Chamisa, whom I interviewed last year, as he prepared to fly to a European Union meeting in Brussels.


Greener Pastors

Bradford Plumer: Inside the evangelical war over climate change.


The House Dems

Well, the Democratic majority is not quite a majority after all. The party's left flank thought that every Democrat in the House would troop into line on its constitutionally bizarre attempt to limit in advance any military action the administration might want to take against Iran. Imagine, the president and the secretary of state decide that Iran has done something that endangers the country's security or the security of our important allies (which include Israel and Saudi Arabia.) They may just want to fire a warning shot so that Iran knows that we are serious, very serious.


Details, Details

Here's Alberto Gonzales fending off calls for his resignation on CBS's "The Early Show" this morning: I didn't become attorney general by quitting. I hate to quibble with Gonzales at a time like this, but didn't he have to quit his job as White House counsel in order to become the A.G.? --Jason Zengerle

In a (pretty feeble) defense of Alberto Gonzales, David Frum notes a fringe benefit for Democrats in the current US Attorney scandal: Even if he stays, Gonzales is probably toast as a Supreme Court nominee. Whereas until now he would've been a tough pick for many Democrats to oppose. --Michael Crowley

Britney And Bush

I admit that when I first started reading Josh Marshall's coverage of the fired U.S. attorneys story back in January, I thought he and his TalkingPointsMemo gang were possibly making a mountain out of a molehill. Oops. So there's no way I'm going to make the same mistake about Idolator's conspiracy theory that Britney Spears is doing black ops for the White House. When it comes to this administration, I think it's smart to assume the worst. --Jason Zengerle

Sam Tanenhaus describes how William F. Buckley turned against his own movement (and also discovers that Buckley turned David Brooks down for the editorship of the National Review because he wasn't "a believing Christian"); Tanenhaus also recommends essential books about American conservatism and chats with Isaac Chotiner about the future of the movement (we've got the audio); Cass R. Sunstein thinks the D.C.